Gin and fizz continue to set the pace says latest WSTA report

12 September, 2016

Gin and sparkling wine continue to be star performers in the off-trade according to the latest market report released by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.

Take-home gin sales increased by 12% to £424 million in the year to August 13 [Nielsen] against market growth of just 1% for all spirits in the off-trade.

The momentum behind gin seems to be gathering pace, with sales ahead by 15% in the last 12 weeks covered by the report, compared with the same period in 2015.

Non-Champagne sparkling wine grew 15% in the year to August against a 2% decline in the value of still wine sales. Champagne was also up, but by a more modest 3%.

The WSTA said forecasts at the start of this year had predicted that sales of gin across the whole market would hit £1 billion by 2017, but this figure has already been reached, with on-trade sales ahead by 21% to pass the £600 million mark.

The WSTA has revised upwards figures reported in January for new UK distilleries opened in 2015, from 49 to 56.

Gin accounted for 11.5% of all spirits sold in the UK by volume last year, up by a quarter on 2014. Annual value sales in the off-trade have risen by more than a third since 2012, over which time the average price per litre has gone up 18%, or £2.92.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “The gin revolution shows no sign of slowing and consumers are enjoying the celebrated juniper-based spirit in all sorts of creative ways.

“We were delighted to see a gin and tonic drizzle cake making an appearance in the latest series of the Great British Bake Off.”

The WSTA report also shows that sales of imported whiskey passed £250 milion for the first time in the year to August, with sales ahead by 6%.

Sales of single malt Scotch were up 5% and the WSTA forecasts that they could pass the £200 million mark next year.

In wine, New Zealand’s sales rose 13% to £386 million, with Argentina up 25% at £144 million.

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Lifting the spirits

I were to sum up alcohol sales over Christmas 2017 in one word, it would be “gin”. At Nielsen, we define the Christmas period as the 12 weeks to December 30 and in that time gin sales were £199.4 million, which means they increased by £55.4 million compared with Christmas 2016. There’s no sign the bubble is about to burst either. Growth at Christmas 2016 was £22.4 million, so gin has increased its value growth nearly two-and-a-half times in a year. The spirit added more value to
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